The first rule of autofiction is that no one admits they’re writing autofiction. They’ll refer to ‘my narrator’ and ‘the plot’ as though they were something other than parts of the author themselves. They are, of course, parts that are not generally accepted explorations. A narrator can indulge in solipsism but a person cannot.
The second rule of autofiction is that everything is autofiction.
I think that I am too ill, now, to write. Too caught up in life’s games and side quests. But I run myself a bath and FIVE FUCKING MINUTES after being away from every screen in the house, the flow hits me. I need a pen, I think, but there are no pens. There is no paper, only a mind. The images and sentences assault me then, one after another after another, until I feel like I’m being pelted with beautiful hailstones. I raise my hands to my face.
I am back in a scene that is indistinguishable as memory, dream or book. I am lying on a stained couch with a cigarette in one limp hand. It is dark. I am here but not here. There are voices and bongs and seriously malevolent vibes. Has a crime taken place? I don’t think I was involved. Can they see me? But I can’t move, can’t speak.
When I was little, my dad told me he was working on an amazing machine that would change people’s lives forever. I wanted to see it, but he said the machine was only small at the moment, barely more than an idea. What stuck with me was that something could be barely more than an idea. What did that mean – did it exist, or not? In the dark hours I would think of a machine emerging from the great nothingness, ghostlike, gurgling and confused.
At first I thought it was the machine that took Dad. Work had consumed him, Mum said. But a machine cannot disappear a person, at least not in the literal sense.
[Why do you need a mirror?]
To see myself.
[Why do you need to see yourself when you are yourself?]
To see myself as others see me. To know that I exist.
[To know that you exist, ok]
I push the bathroom door and fall in. At last, a mirror! I take a deep breath and look up.
[Hello. Don’t panic. I’m here and I am you. I’m going to take you somewhere safe.]
You are … you are what?
[I … exist]
Don’t panic. I’m here.
A journal of beautiful sentences.
Where are we without lines? We make buildings and put them all in rows so that the people know where to walk and don’t get lost. We create order so the underlying chaos doesn’t swallow us whole. We invent narrators so our consciousness has direction. So that it is discrete and not entangled. But lines can always be broken.
I’m trying something out here. Looking for patterns, rhythms, connections in journaling and beauty in fragments. I’m looking for the point at which communication breaks down between writer and reader, where intrigue fails and where the key to subjectivity may lie. I’m freeing myself up. I join personal beats with character perspectives and notes for plot, as ever to play with the boundary between fiction and reality. I’m looking for the line to ride.
Header Image Source: Pixabay